Car Seats

Important information for car seats

car seats kmh law

There’s a lot of misinformation out there about the updated child passenger safety laws for car seats that have recently gone into effect in New Jersey, and so we’re here to clear things up a bit. Here are the four main points (as taken directly from from the state’s Office of the Attorney General’s website), and then we’ll tackle them as we go in plain English:

 

2 years and under

The new law says: A child under the age of two years and weighing less than 30 pounds shall be secured in a rear facing child passenger restraint system (car seats), which is equipped with a five-point harness

THIS MEANS:

  • If your child is two years or younger and weighs 30 lbs or less they MUST remain rear facing in a 5 point harness.
  • Once your child is either two years old (or older) or weighs 30 lbs, they may be turned forward facing.

4 years and under

The new law says: A child under the age of four years and weighing less than 40 lbs shall be secured:

  1.  in a rear facing child passenger restraint system, which is equipped with a five-point harness, until the child outgrows the top height or top weight recommendations made by the manufacturer of the child passenger restraint system, at which point the child shall be secured in a forward facing child passenger restraint system which is equipped with a five-point harness; OR
  2. in a forward facing child passenger restraint system which is equipped with a five-point harness

THIS MEANS:

  •  If your child is ages 3-4 and less than 40lbs they should remain rear facing in a five point harness until they outgrow the maximum requirements for the rear facing seat; then they can be turned forward facing, but they must remain in a five-point harness.
  • The maximum height and weight requirements vary by brand.

8 years and under

The new law says: A child under the age of eight years and less than 57 inches in height shall be secured:

  1.  in a forward facing child passenger restraint system which is equipped with a five-point harness, until the child outgrows the top height or top weight recommendations made by the manufacturer of the child passenger restraint system, at which point the child shall be secured in a rear seat, in a booster seat; OR
  2. in a booster seat.

 THIS MEANS:

  • From the ages 4-8 years old AND less than 57 inches your child MUST remain in a forward facing car seat with a five point harness UNTIL they outgrow the maximum height/weight requirements of their specific seat and/or harness requirement. Once they outgrow the maximum requirements, they can be transferred to a booster seat. They must remain in a booster seat until they reach the age of 8 or a height of 57 inches.

Vehicles with no rear seats

The new law says: If there are no rear seats, the child shall be secured in a child passenger restrain system or booster seat or car seats in a front seat of a motor vehicle except that no child shall be secured in a rear facing child passenger restraint system in a front seat of any motor vehicle which is equipped with a passenger side airbag that is not disabled or turned off.

THIS MEANS:

If you drive a vehicle, such as a pick-up truck, that does not have a rear seat you should follow the above new laws the same way, EXCEPT the passenger side airbag MUST be disabled or turned off. If you cannot disable to turn off, then the child cannot ride in the vehicle.

QUICK BREAKDOWN

  • 2 years and younger AND under 30 lbs – Must be rear facing in a 5 point harness
  • 4 years and younger AND under 40lbs – Must remain in a 5 point harness. Should remain rear facing until the maximum seat requirements of their car seat is met and can then turn forward facing.
  • 8 years and younger AND under 57 inches should remain in a 5 point harness until the maximum seat requirements of their car seat is met and can then they can move to a booster

In total: These are some relatively big changes, as the current law, as written, just demands that children under the age of 8 and/or 80 pounds must be secured in a car seat or booster. The changes in law, while somewhat confusing, were created based on numerous safety studies and are, of course, intended to save lives.

KMH Law is happy to help; drive safe.


© 2017 KMH&L Lawyers. All rights reserved.
Mercer County NJ Law Office | Kalavruzos, Mumola, Hartman & Lento, LLC


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